North Korea sending chemical weapon supplies to Syria

Kristen Gonzales
March 2, 2018

A separate United Nations panel said Assad's forces were responsible for a sarin gas attack on the rebel-held village of Khan Sheikhoun in April previous year that killed at least 83 people and sickened roughly 300.

It has been leaked to media as rebel factions in the besieged Damascus suburb of eastern Ghouta accuse the regime of using chlorine during the fierce 12-day-old bombing campaign on the area.

But as with Tuesday, the truce was marred by violence.

For its part, North Korea appears to have gotten sanctions evasion and illegal weapons exports down to a science.

For many years, the panel said the DPRK Corst Company acted on behalf of the Second Economic Committee, which is under sanctions, to ship goods to Syria for use in prohibited programs.

That North Korea continues to do brisk business with other rogue states despite being subject to perhaps the tightest sanctions regime ever imposed on any country illustrates the limitations, and even downsides, of punishing rogue states by cutting them out of the legitimate global marketplace.

A United Nations investigation has found evidence that North Korea sent material used in ballistic missile and chemical weapons programmes to Syria, along with missile technicians, in violation of United Nations sanctions, according to the Associated Press.

United Nations investigators looking at the hermit kingdom's compliance with sanctions said the supplies shipped to Syria include acid-resistant tiles, valves and thermometers, according to The New York Times. One of the few Western leaders who have spoken about the issue is U.K. Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, who suggested if "inconvertible" evidence is discovered that Syrian government has used chemical weapons on civilians, then military action should be considered.

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North Korean scientists visited Syria in 2016 and 2017, after the chemical weapons supplies had been sent to the war-torn country.

The shipments allegedly contained acid-resistant tiles - which can be used for activities conducted at high temperatures - at a quantity that would cover the area of a large scale industrial project. The Security Council has commissioned the group since 2010 to investigate the circumvention of sanctions.

North Korea is under heavy global and US sanctions for its development of nuclear weapons and a missile system that could deliver a warhead to much of the globe.

What is Syria's official position on chemical weapons? The claims came amid recent reports of a chemical weapons attack in Syria's bombarded eastern Ghouta.

"The use of chemical weapons has always been reviled by the global community and they are prohibited for very good reasons".

The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) opened an investigation on Sunday into attacks in the enclave to determine whether banned munitions had been used.

Why is North Korea's involvement controversial?

It also supports suspicions since the start of the Syrian civil war in 2011 that President Bashar al-Assad has been assisted by the North Korean regime.

Other reports by TheSundaySentinel

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